1. Understand what the casting director is looking for
Casting directors want to find the best actor out of a group of actors who all look basically the same. Other than acting skills, casting directors are looking for an actor that is easy to work with, able to take direction, and have the ability to act in a way that the director wants. Think of an audition as a job interview and you are fighting to get to second interview.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, ‘Hunger Games’ director Gary Ross revealed that Jennifer Lawrence’s audition was so good that it was the “easiest” casting decision in his career.
I ABSOLUTELY CAST THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE ROLE AND IN MY VIEW THERE WASN’T EVEN A QUESTION WHO THE BEST KATNISS WAS. IT WAS THE EASIEST CASTING DECISION I EVER MADE IN MY LIFE.
2. Don’t act desperate
Casting directors are your friends and for the most part they are normal people that want to be around other normal people. If you can be that charming person than you will increase your chances of getting a call back. But, what will not be beneficial to your acting career is if you are angry, hostile, bitter, sarcastic, rude, or desperate. First and foremost, you want the casting director to like you as a person.
Just as I pointed out earlier about not appearing desperate, it is just as important to treat everyone in the audition room with respect. When you are in the audition, the only people present besides you will be the producer, a camera operator, the casting director, or (if it’s a commercial audition) a representative from the advertiser. No matter who is in the room, treat everyone with respect. No matter what they look like, how they appear, or what you know about that individual, it is important to teat everyone with respect.
In the entertainment industry, it is a very small circle and you will run into the same people over and over again, which means you may meet the same casting director on several different productions throughout your acting career. The more charming and likeable you are, the more likely you will get a role.
3. Think about the big picture
Sometimes, a casting director may be looking for one type of actor to fill a role but, after auditioning several people, the casting director may call upon someone else. For example, in the movie Lethal Weapon, Danny Glover was overlooked for the co-starring role in the movie until the casting director demanded that he play the role.
“BUT HE’S BLACK! THE ROLE ISN’T WRITTEN FOR A BLACK MAN,” SPUTTERED “LETHAL WEAPON” FILM DIRECTOR RICHARD DONNER DURING THE CASTING PROCESS FOR ONE OF HOLLYWOOD’S LUCRATIVE FRANCHISES.
“SO WHAT?!” SHOT BACK ICONIC CASTING DIRECTOR MARION DOUGHERTY, “HE CAN ACT.”
THE STRUGGLING ACTOR WAS DANNY GLOVER, AND THE LATE, GREAT DOUGHERTY KNEW TALENT. SHE WORKED FROM HER GUT INSTINCTS.
4. Know how to slate
If you are auditioning for a TV show, movie or commercial, the casting director will start by asking you to slate. Slate is simply stating your full name clearly. When you slate, you must say your name followed by the agency that represents you. It is important to slate in character of the person you are portraying. If you are doing a commercial, you want to slate extremely happy. If your character is monotone don’t cheerfully say your name and agency, say it confidently and clearly. Knowing how to slate will get the casting director ready for your next step and that is your performance.
5. Expect the unexpected
Whenever you audition, expect the unexpected and be ready to work with unusual situations at a moment’s notice. To help prepare for the unexpected, many actors will try to take improvisation classes. With these classes you can learn how to improvise new and different acting situations and still remain in character.
6. Don’t creep the casting director out.
During your audition you will be reciting lines from a script. At that point you want to focus your eyes on a particular area. Many acting coaches suggest looking around the casting director. But, one thing you should not do is look directly into the casting director’s eyes. The casting director will not be able to evaluate your performance without feeling the need to react to your acting, if you are staring he or she in the eyes. Also, do not touch the casting director or any of their stuff, such as their notepad, computer, or food. Doing so will work against you. In addition, never smoke or chew gum during your audition. If you must smoke, do it outside where no one can see you and where your smoke will not affect others.